© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

How Long is Someone an Immigrant? Reflections on 40 Years In the US

Kamyar Enshayan immigrated to the United States 40 years ago from Iran to go to college. He tried to attend school there, but he says that classes and whole semesters were getting cancelled due to governmental and cultural discontent. 

Amidst the current immigration debate, he's been asking himself a question: "how long someone stays an immigrant?"

In conversation with host Charity Nebbe, Enshayan talks about his journey to the US, how he put down roots, and his appreciation for being able to participate in local elections because of his past experiences with dictatorship. 

He also shares ways in which he's tried to break down barriers in his own life. 

"Being from Iran is hard because there have been so many scandals and misconceptions," he says. "When I was a student at Ohio State, at the peak of the Iranian Arms Deal controversy, I walked in a community parade with a sign that said 'you want a real Iranian arms deal? Come give me a hug.'" 

Kamyar Enshayan is the Director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa